Category Archives: Tunes

5 Irish Gaelic Songs for Tin Whistle

5 easy Irish tin whistle songs for beginners, with sheet music, whistle tabs & audio (sheet music pdf download link at the bottom of the page). I play each tune with and without ornamentation, on a D tin whistle – I use a Tony Dixon trad whistle on these recordings. The songs in this article can be found in the book Tin Whistle for Beginners Volume 1.
These 5 songs are all in the Irish language – I’ve used the word “Gaelic” here to differentiate from Irish folk songs in English, but in general the Irish language is simply referred to as “Irish” – or “Gaeilge”, in Irish.

1: An Cailín Rua – The Red-Haired Girl
An old love song from the poet to the beautiful red-haired girl who takes all he has and leaves him for another. He takes her from Derry to Athlone, plying her with drink all the way. He says he prefers her “to any cow or heifer”; this fails to impress her and she runs off with a shop-boy. Such are the ways of love.

Chuaigh sí siar agus bróga breac’ uirthi,
Ribíní glasuaithne teannta ar a gruaig,
D’éalaigh sí uaimse le buachaill an tsiopa,
Is a Rí nár dheas í, mo chailín rua.

She went west wearing striped shoes,
Her hair tied up with the greenest ribbons,
She left me for a shop-boy,
God, wasn’t she lovely, my red-haired girl.

2: Óró mo Bháidín – Oh, My Little Boat
A song written by Padraig Pearse, an ode to his little boat or currach

Óró mo bháidín
Ag snámh ar a’gcuan
Óró mo bháidín
Faighimis na máidí
Agus téimis chun siuil
Óró mo bháidín
Óró mo churaichín ó
Óró mo bháidín

Oh my little boat
As she glides in the bay
Oh my little boat
Let’s get the sticks
And we’ll row on
Oh my little boat
Oh my little curragh
Oh my little boat

3: Cailín na Gruaige Doinne – The Brown-Haired Girl
Another love song, about a poor wanderer who falls for a lovely brown haired girl. her mother is having none of it, though, and now he’s “defeated, weak and senseless”.

Ar bhantaibh an tSróil sea d’fhagas mo stór,
‘S a maithrín ag gleo gan dabht léi.
‘D taobh grá ‘ thabhairt dom shórt sa d’fhánaí gan treoir,
Gan cairne buí óir i gcabhair dom.

On the plains of Sroil I left my love
And her mother, no doubt, was arguing with her
About the love she gave my kind, an aimless wanderer,
With no stack of gold to succour me.

4: Ar Éirinn ní neosfainn cé hí – For Ireland I’d Not Tell Her Name
An eighteenth-century love song; the poet is in love with a girl but won’t tell her name as presumably her friends and family would disapprove.

Le haonghean dá méin is dá cló,
Dá briathra is dá beol tanaí binn,
Do léimeas faoi dhéin dul ’na comhair
’S ar Éirinn ní neosfainn cé hí.

With her lovely bearing and shape,
Her sweet words and thin lips,
I hastened to be in her presence
But for all of Ireland I’d not tell her name.

5: Buachaill ón Éirne – Boy from the Erne
This is a tongue in cheek song in which the young cowherd claims immense riches, the opposite of his station in life.

Buachaill ón Éirne mé
‘s bhréagfainn féin cailín deas óg.
Ní iarrfainn bó spré léithe
tá mé féin saibhir go leor.
‘S liom Corcaigh ‘a mhéid é,
dhá thaobh a’ ghleanna ‘s Tír Eoghain.
‘S mura n-athraí mé béasaí
‘s mé n’ t-oidhr’ ar Chontae Mhaigh Eo.

I’m a boy from the Erne
and I could charm a nice young girl.
I would not ask for her wealth
as I am rich enough myself.
I own Cork, as big as it is,
two sides of the glen, and Tyrone.
And not to repeat myself,
I’m the heir of County Mayo.

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Book with free audio download - 90 well-loved Irish and Scottish songs, chosen for beginners.

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400 classic Irish session tunes

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5 Scottish Songs for Tin Whistle Beginners

5 easy Scottish songs for tin whistle beginners, with audio, sheet music & fingering guides; songs from the collection Tin Whistle for Beginners Volume 1. I play them on a D tin whistle (Dixon Trad) . Scroll to the end of the page for sheet music with whistle tablatures in printable pdf form. As usual, I play each song once up to speed with ornamentation, and once more slowly for learning.

Wild Mountain Thyme (Go Lassie Go)
Wild Mountain Thyme, or Will ye Go Lassie Go, is a Scottish song that was originally known as the Braes of Balquhidder; in it’s current version it was recorded by the McPeake family of Belfast in gthe 1950s. It seems to be unclear whether the song is a new composition, or an adaptation of the earlier song. the song is also come=on in the Irish tradition, indeed many people view it as Irish.

Loch Lomond
Loch Lomond, also known as the Bonnie Banks o’ Loch Lomond, is a Scottish Jacobite song dating from around the 17th-18th centuries; Loch Lomond itself is the largest lake in Scotland & the UK, lying on the boundary between the Highlands and the Lowlands. An Irish version of the song exists, known as Red is the Rose.

O ye’ll tak’ the high road, and I’ll tak’ the low road,
And I’ll be in Scotland a’fore ye,
But me and my true love will never meet again,
On the bonnie, bonnie banks o’ Loch Lomond.

Scotland the Brave
Scotland the Brave is an iconic Scottish pipe tune, and the “unofficial” Scottish national anthem. it is most often played by pipe bands. There seem to be several sets of lyrics, with the most common ones dating from the 1950s.

Scots Wha hae
Scots Wha Hae was written by the great Scottish poet Robert Burns. In the lyrics, Robert the Bruce addresses the Scots before the battle of Bannockburn:

Scots, wha hae wi Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome tae yer gory bed,
Or tae victorie.

Skye Boat Song
The Skye Boat Song, or Over the Sea to Skye, is a folk song dating from the 19th century. It speaks of the flight of Bonnie Prince Charlie to Skye as he escaped after the battle of Culloden.

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5 Irish Christmas Songs for Tin Whistle

5 traditional Irish Christmas songs for tin whistle, with sheet music, fingering charts and audio. Scroll to the end of the page to download the pdf file with sheet music and whistle tablatures for all 5  songs. The songs are all played on a D tin whistle (I use a Dixon Trad on these recordings) See also : 5 Easy Christmas Songs for Tin Whistle

1: Don Oíche Úd i mBeithil
An Irish-language Christmas carol of unclear origin ; it may date as far back as the 7th century. The lyrics speak of “that night in Bethlehem” (Beithil in Irish is Bethlehem). It’s one of the easier Irish Christmas carols to play on the tin whistle.

2: Good People All (the Wexford Carol)
“Good People All, This Christmas Time” is a famous Irish carol said to originate from Enniscorthy in Wexford around the 15th-16th century. The tin whistle arrangement is quite challenging with several half-holed notes.

3: Now to Conclude our Christmas Mirth
One of the Kilmore Carols. The parish of Kilmore has a unique tradition of singing Christmas Carols that is kept alive to this day ; there are 13 carols in all, for each of the 12 days of Christmas and one for Christmas day.

4: Duncormick Mummers Jig
A jig from the mummers or wrenboys tradition of St Stephen’s Day.

5: Ye Sons of Men
Another Kilmore Carol, also known as the Third Carol for Christmas Day. It’s a tune I usually prefer to play on a Bb or C  tin whistle.

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